War Against Benjamin
Open Your Bible
Judges 20:1-48, Deuteronomy 18:1-5, Proverbs 16:33
Scripture Reading: Judges 20:1-48, Deuteronomy 18:1-5, Proverbs 16:33
It all started with a little boy and itchy skin, which is honestly the worst way for anything to begin. He was my little brother, two years old at the time, and as the scratching continued, it became clear the cause was more than an irritation from running around in the grass or an aggravated mosquito bite. Still, my parents applied Cortisone cream and hoped for the best, leaving a message for the pediatrician to call in the morning.
But overnight, I, too, began to scratch my skin, and red bumps proved the cause to be more than an allergy to something we’d eaten for dinner the night before. By morning, my mom was also itchy, the final straw to explain our fate: chicken pox.
So there we were, all three of us, left to schedule back-to-back oatmeal baths, share anti-itch cream, take turns complaining, and inconvenience our one remaining caretaker, my father. To think this all started with a little boy and itchy skin.
Israel was quick to assume sin was a “someone else” problem, and if I’m being honest, I’m often guilty of doing the same. The crime at Gibeah? Certainly it was someone else’s fault. Surely, the people of Benjamin were the only ones who didn’t have it all together, and war needed to be waged against them to make everything right.
But first, God used the war against Benjamin to point out the ways Israel, too, was infected with sin. While these accounts are difficult to take in and unfold like a horror story, they all play a part in God reminding His children what happens when they forget Him and rely only on what they can see. Everyone was doing what appeared to be right in their own eyes, and that lead to death and destruction.
The Israelites first defeat at the hands of the badly outnumbered Benjaminites caused them to weep before the Lord and inquire of Him if they should attack again the next day. It wasn’t until their second failure that they turned to fasting and making sacrifices for their sins. It’s dangerous to keep on living in sickness, but unfortunately, many times it takes something truly terrible to recognize the destructiveness of sin.
Chapter 20 of Judges isn’t necessarily something you’d want to write on your dry erase board or commit to needlepoint, but it’s significant to the heartbeat of humanity. It’s been said that sometimes, to receive the depth of the good news, we must first be able to swallow the bad. And yet, here is my favorite part of this passage: God answered the Israelites, despite their sin. When they asked questions, no matter how infected their souls were, He answered. And that is the God we serve.
We may waver from Him and, for a time, commit to our own selfish ways, but by the grace of God, His commitment is to the changing of hearts. Our stories will all end with our sinful selves redeemed by the faithful Father. Thanks be to Him.
Kaitlin Wernet is a twenty-something who lives to tell stories with a backbone of hope. Armed with too many exclamation points and not enough goat cheese, she spends her days as a writer and editor in Nashville, TN. With a journalism degree and football-induced stress from the University of South Carolina, Kaitlin is happiest with plane tickets in hand or a kitten in her lap. Thankful to be a “She” who Reads Truth, she can also be found writing more of her favorite words at KaitlinWernet.com.